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Social identities and friendships: A longitudinal study of support for social identities
This longitudinal study tested the hypothesis that relationship-specific support for social identities (e.g., student, athlete, romantic partner) would predict levels of closeness and contact in college students' friendships. One hundred first-year college students completed measures of closeness, contact, and support for identities, pertaining to three new, same-sex friendships. During their sophomore year, 86 of the participants provided follow-up information about each friendship. Analyses conducted across participants and across friendships of the same participants indicated that students were more likely to maintain closeness and contact with friends who provided higher levels of support for identities. Additionally, in several analyses, support for identities predicted closeness and contact even after controlling for general relationship-specific support. Results suggest that support for social identities is a distinct type of social support with consequences for interpersonal relationships.